We're trashy folks any way you look at it. Every Missourian on average last year generated an estimated 1.84 tons of garbage. Now that's an amazing statistics even though it's somewhat misleading. All garbage generated by residents of Missouri is included in the total and that includes construction and demolition waste, industrial and commercial waste as well as the bags you put in front of your house each week.
Regardless of how the calculation is made, 1.84 tons per person is a lot of trash. Actually the state tells us we're doing a slightly better job controlling our waste now than we have in the past. Much of that credit goes to recycling.
I have long been an outspoken advocate of recycling. Though some experts say recycling is more about style than substance, I think recycling somehow changes our minds to the issue of waste disposal. And I think recycling should be mandatory, not voluntary. But that argument will have a long struggle for public acceptance unfortunately.
Sikeston will soon host its second annual citywide clean-up day and the total tonnage of trash collected on that day alone will stagger you. I'm not totally convinced that recycling would have any impact whatsoever on efforts such as the citywide clean-up but it would push people into what I believe is a good practice of daily recycling. Something as simple as separating paper from plastic and glass, etc. is a good practice for everyone. It reduces the landfill problem and is just simply an exercise that will produce long term benefits. At least that's my opinion.
In the meantime, think next time you dump the garbage. That task generates 10 pounds of garbage daily for each and every Missourian. The burden on our landfill system will eventually catch up with us. At 1.84 tons of garbage a year on average, the problem may be closer than we'd like to think.